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Salvador Dali painting copy at Colkirk and flowers on Fakenham war memorial – Wensum column



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As was to be expected, things have quietened down somewhat now that the Platinum Jubilee celebrations have passed.

I’ve certainly noticed a change of pace and also a positive reflection from many residents on how well our town rose to the challenge. The hundreds who took part in organising or performing deserve our gratitude, as do the hundreds who turned out in support.

Where would we have been without the crowds? As a country not renowned for ‘flying the flag’ week by week, it’s been lovely to see so many Union flags, large and small, decorating all manner of buildings and spaces. As I write, plenty of them are still there. I hope you have also noticed the many flower baskets which now decorate the frontages of numerous shops and offices in the town centre.

Wensum: flowers on the war memorial.
Wensum: flowers on the war memorial.

Along with a lovely display on the war memorial. I joined other members of community group Fakenham Area Partnership in helping to set up this annual summer treat which has taken something of a hit over the past couple of years.

Our local suppliers, Del’s Nursery, have been very obliging and we need to recognize the leadership of councilor Janet Holdom, without whom the spectacle may well not have happened. During the coming months a weekly watering schedule will be carried out by volunteers from our fire brigade. Trying to rely on rainfall is not an option for obvious reasons.

When I was a student at Borough Road College in the 1970s, I recall playing in a football tournament in Glasgow. One of the extra-curricular pleasures of this event was a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the city which almost turned into the highlight of my across-the-border excursion.

Oil painting of Salvador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross in St Mary's Church, Colkirk.
Oil painting of Salvador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross in St Mary's Church, Colkirk.

Primarily because the gallery featured a Salvador Dali painting of Christ of St John of the Cross which, in the language of the period, ‘blew my mind’.

I bought a small copy of the painting, which I still have somewhere, presuming I might never encounter its like again.

If you are familiar with this image, you will know that it represents the crucified Christ as if looking down from above on his body and outstretched arms. I thought, and still think, that it’s quite stunning. I mention this now because local artist Vanda Richards has painted a 70-inch by 40-inch copy of Dali’s famous work, and presented it to St. Mary’s church in Colkirk, just down the road from us in Fakenham.

Vanda returned to live in the village some six years ago and decided it would be a good idea to have an annual arts festival. With the support of the church as a venue, this has flourished despite Covid interruptions.

This year’s festival, called Colours of the Rainbow, was held over the past weekend [June 18 and 19] but Vanda assures me that her oil painting has now found its rightful home and will continue to be displayed in St.Mary’s. Take it from me, it’s beautifully done and with the church open daily is well worth stepping inside to view.



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